If you had a balcony, would you be playing or singing to the world from it by now?
Social distancing for a musician isn’t the most deflating experience… at first.
The countless hours devoted to study music, to practice music, to perfecting one’s part -all alone – are part of the musician’s life.
For some, it gets older sooner than for others, but even the most introverted player needs at least some outside input eventually. And for so many musicians, the human factor is a vital element of the creative process. The joy of making music together is what Dutch speaker and educator Jeannette Welp calls “a party in the brain – making music with groups is all about connection, collaborations, energy, and lots of fun!”
Humans need connection, and connecting through music is fun.
PIMF founders Kimberly Fisher and Sandy Marcucci recognized the potential negative impacts of the social void on young musicians doing their best to flatten the curve, and quickly rallied the resources of the PIMF team to develop PIMFOnline.org, an online platform to allow musicians anywhere to study with PIMF faculty during COVID-19’s imposed self-isolation and beyond.
It launched with free online practice rooms and a complimentary interactive Master Class March 25 taught by PIMF Artistic Director Fisher, who is Principal Second Violin of The Philadelphia Orchestra in addition to her work at the summer camp music festival. The ZOOM meeting Master Class was attended by over 1100 registered viewers, commenting in real time during the performances of three violinists, located in suburban Philadelphia and Hong Kong.
“It is important that we follow recommendations to keep ourselves and each other safe from the spread of COVID-19, but it’s also imperative that we not lose hope for resuming our lives and our plans as we get through this uneasy time,” PIMF President Marcucci says. “The programs on our new online platform will keep young musicians motivated, inspired, and connected while sharpening their skills in a group setting. We may not all have balconies to play on, but we’ve got PIMFOnline!”
PIMF virtual practice rooms will include 12 violin students from around the world, practicing under Ms. Fisher’s direct supervision. During these hour-long sessions, she’ll guide students as they work on scales, etudes, sight-reading, and technique. Classes are currently scheduled to run through April 10.
“Having raised two musicians myself, I know how very important continued and uninterrupted practice is for a young musician’s development,” said Marcucci. “We feel these virtual music get-togethers will go a long way in helping families keep their students focused, growing, and uplifted until this storm has passed!”
PIMF’s piano partner, Cunningham Piano Company, is also harnessing the power of the internet to engage self-isolating musicians with an online choral and symphonic performance of Mozart’s Ave verum corpus, K. 618.
“Of course, practice is a solitary pursuit by nature, but performance and ensemble work are quite social,” Cunningham co-owner Rich Galassini told us in an e-mail. “This method of presenting a performance is by no means a replacement for that live and close experience, but it is the best substitute that we have available to us. The great part of this is that musicians have an experience that results in an ensemble performance.”
Musicians looking to take their music education online for the time being or supplement their training longer-term, can pull their music stand closer to the computer and explore the offerings at PIMFOnline.org.